The Cavaliers figure to be downright ornery as they fight for their postseason lives, and coach
"That's certainly a concern," he said during his weekly conference call Tuesday. "I've said it before and there's a saying that we have all the time. The hungry dog seems to hunt best. When we've had that sense of urgency, we seemed to have played better in different areas. So that is a concern, knowing what's at stake for them. We've been very candid in terms of our discussions with our guys. We try to be open and honest and just be very real with our guys and be transparent. We can't really control what's happening on the outside. Yet, we've got to understand that if your opponent is going to come with that sense of urgency, if you don't match that urgency and focus and attention, you're putting yourself behind the 8-ball. We've got to be aware of that."
If Maryland needs any reminders of meeting an opponent with nothing to lose, all the team has to do is replay its 7-4 loss to then-No. 15 Johns Hopkins on April 13. At that time, the Blue Jays were 6-4 and in desperate need of a victory.
The Terps struggled mightily in the setback, and Johns Hopkins got a potentially season-turning win. Tillman mentioned that loss during his conference call.
"In a season, there are a lot of teachable moments, and there are a lot of learned experiences that you can have, and we experienced that two weeks ago with a team that came in," he said. "I didn't think our effort was necessarily poor, but I do think a few weeks ago, our opponent had excellent urgency and provided great effort and did a really good job. Those are the things we're going to have to understand, that this is the environment we are playing in and if there's a huge discrepancy, it's going to be very difficult for us to come out on the winning end."
Maryland might want to borrow a page from the Blue Jays' showing against Virginia when Johns Hopkins scored 11 of the first 12 goals en route to a 15-8 thumping on March 23. Tillman is hoping for a similar start against the Cavaliers.